Welcome to Rostov-on-Don, Russia’s southern capital and a host city of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Rostov-on-Don was founded in 1749 on the right bank of the Don River, 46 kilometers from where it flows into the Sea of Azov. Earlier there was a customs center, and in 1760, they began builing a fortress to defend Russia's southern borders. The fortress was named after St. Dimitry, Metropolitan of Rostov and Yaroslavl.

In the course of its comparatively short history, Rostov-on-Don has grown from a small port to a large city with a population over one million. Rostov-on-Don is unofficially known as the gateway to the Northern Caucasus region, Russia's southern capital, as well as the Don capital, the agricultural combine capital, and Papa Rostov.

In Rostov-on-Don, more than anywhere else in Russia, people continue to follow the traditions of the Don Cossacks, a warrior class that emerged in the mid-16th century. Settlements around Rostov-on-Don are not called villages but stations, the most famous being Vyoshenskaya, the birthplace of the well-known Russian novelist Mikhail Sholokhov. Various Cossack-themed events are often held in Rostov-on-Don, such as military competitions during which Don Cossacks face off in horse-riding and shooting, demonstrate their courage and strength, and with their victories bring glory to their lineage and their stations.

Must see

The renovated Voroshilov Bridge is one of the symbols of the city. You can cross it by car or on foot. The design, by the architect Kleiman and the engineer Kuznetsov, was unique for its time: instead of welding, they used glue to keep elements of the bridge together. The whole structure was held up by steel cables.

Another place worth visiting is the city's main thoroughfare, Bolshaya Sadovaya Street, which features its town hall, the beautiful mansion of Margarita Chernova, and a number of other historic buildings.

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Voroshilov Bridge over the Don River in Rostov-on-Don. © RIA Novosti. V. Kozlov

Rostov-on-Don is best known as the home of the Don Cossacks. You can learn about the history of this warrior class and the life of Cossacks at the Don Cossack Guard exhibition center, which features several hundred items collected by locals over the last 25 years.

Art connoisseurs will love the Rostov Regional Museum of Fine Arts, which features over six thousand paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects. Here you can find works by Shishkin, Levitan, Vasnetsov, and many other Russian painters. The museum also possesses Dutch still lifes, and even a painting by Rubens.

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Cossacks in Starocherkasskaya, Rostov Region © RIA Novosti. Konstantin Chalabov

Another Rostov-on-Don landmark is the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is a smaller copy of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. This is the third cathedral built in this very spot: the first burned after being struck by lightning, while the second fell into disrepair. The cathedral was closed by the Soviets, but was quickly restored and reopened after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1999, a four-tier bell tower demolished during World War II was restored.

Памятник Буденовской тачанке, установленный на южном въезде в Ростов-на-Дону
Tachanka Monument at the southern entrance to Rostov-on-Don © RIA Novosti. Sergey Venyavsky

History lovers will want to see Tachanka Monument, also called Tachanka-Rostovchanka. The 15-meter monument, located at the southern entrance to Rostov-on-Don, was erected to commemoreate the October Revolution's 60th anniversary and dedicated to the 1st Cavalry Army, which fought in the Russian Civil War.

Rostov Arena

A new stadium has been constructed in Rostov-on-Don for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Rostov Arena can accommodate 45,000 spectators. Construction of the stadium cost 19.4 billion rubles. A distinctive feature of the new stadium is its stained-glass façade.

According to the World Cup playing schedule, Rostov Arena will host group stage and 1/8-final matches. The matches will take place on June 17, 20, 23, and 26, as well as July 2, 2018.

How to Reach Rostov-on-Don

By plane: there are daily flights to Rostov-on-Don from the Moscow airports Domodedovo, Vnukovo, and Sheremetyevo. Flight time from Moscow is 2 hours.

By train: the direct train from Moscow to Rostov-on-Don leaves Kazansky railway station every day. The journey takes 17 hours and 34 minutes. The train is named Tikhy Don (Quiet Flows the Don) after the novel by Mikhail Sholokhov. You can also get to Rostov-on-Don via other comfortable passenger trains that stop in the city on their way to Anapa, Adler, or Kislovodsk.

By bus: if you would like to travel from Moscow to Rostov-on-Don by bus, you can catch one from Orekhovo bus station, or board it near Komsomolskaya metro station. The ride takes 16 to 17 hours.